This Poem Is Written in Code

I’ll sit at my desk eating tangerines until you remember
the true meaning. Meaning: I’ve had it with low blows
& pop wagons. I need a county I can call “My Own.”  But I’ll
write things down from there to tell you later, a selection
of my private behaviors.  Me studying cheerleaders on tv—
their hair, their leaps, the shutters on their eyes.  Me
smoothing my hair down like a Mormon and giving myself
a secret handshake. My ocean is a crushed bird. Let me sterilize
a bit and handcraft these wing clips with all the razzle dazzle of
a person who has made friends with death.  Death is a man
with the loveliest face, a face as open as a child’s.  He smells
of lavender.  He wears a fez. Damn, burnt from bitter orange tweed
jacket set aflame with alcohol and matches. He taught me this:
Whatever you need, whenever you need it, come into my establishment
and take it. I would like nothing more than to sail straight for that grip.
Pumping my fist at the skin on the oar. Your head is bleeding.
I value your patronage.


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